Welcomed Home

Throughout this scene there are several island phrases used, click the link to get a translation.

When Jack, Jim, and Jewls return the shackled spirit of Ixion to Washington they are welcomed with open arms by Odin, Loki, and Thor. Halfway through the hand-off Jim's pocket rings and Anansi's voice on the other end say "Eh, boy. Good tings, bad tings... anudder day in da walk. Welcome to da Loa, child. Don' go gettin uppity. Chicken merry, hawks deh is here. Deh want you back in de Port, quick as can be." Jim catches the reference to Port-Au-Prince, where he got his Bokor initiation from Baron Samedi, Erzulie Dantor, Kalfu, Papa Legba, Damballa, Ayida Wedo, and Anansi. Hitching a ride on one of the relief helicopters constantly going back and forth to aid with earthquake recovery is easy enough, and in short order Jim is on his way.

From the air today's Haiti is vastly different from the one Jim was in a few short months ago. The city lies mostly in ruins, with flattened buildings and many people still living out of tents on soccer fields and schoolyards. Fifteen miles south by southwest the epicenter of the quake can be easily seen. Mortal news media knows nothing of the significance of the site, but voudoun all over the world suspect it and the Loa know. That the earthquake was centered near Carrefour can be no coincidence. This was a message to Kalfu, and by extension all of the Loa.

As the chopper pulls in closer to Port-Au-Prince the devastation is even more clear. Not only is the city almost completely destroyed, but the island's vegetation seems to have gone haywire. Plants which once could barely stand the pollution of the city are now everywhere, and the border between civilization and wilderness is pushed in deep and blurred. From the crack near the epicenter a massive tree grows, that could not have survived the quake and so must be new. Jim's binocular vision zooms in and he sees the unmistakable form of an old black man with white hair and a white beard lounging under the tree. The unlidded eye reveals thick bands of Fate tying the man to the forest around him, snaking all over the island. This powerful being can only be Gran Bois, who was once a Loa but joined with Gaia and the other avatars of Terra when his brethren refused to do what he felt necessary to keep the planet's ecosystem whole: remove all offending humans from existence and return to a time where the most technological weapons mankind can bring to bear against the environment are the spear and the axe.

The chopper lands in a deserted street a couple of blocks from 134b St. Marie, where Jim stepped into the realm of demigods. It's a short walk to the tenement where the ghostly Ozanfè tattooed your back with a tree and introduced you to your extended family. The building has fallen, but has already been mostly rebuilt. As you watch, several zombies carry off debris. The door opens and Kalfu is there. His voice echos and "The time for mystery is past. Welcome to the family." He pulls an old tobacco can from his pouch, takes a pinch and a snort from it, and offers it to Jim before turning to walk inside.

The last time he was here Ozanfè's apartment was disheveled and chaotic, but only because it was disorganized. Now it sits in chaos because much of it was destroyed. The green door she led you past the last time still stands, and looks exactly the same. Kalfu opens this door and steps through into Ville Au Camp, the Loa Overworld. The air is thick and heavy there, like being pushed on from all sides at once; and the watery ceiling high above ripples as pressure waves push through it.

Kalfu shows Jim around briefly, always heading towards the center of the crossroads and the poteau mitan there. This central pillar rises out of the crossroads and sinks into the ground, going so high and low that it eventually circles back and meets itself. The gods who were present for his last visitation are there again, standing around the poteau mitan. Some talk amongst themselves, some stand and wait. Anansi stays apart from the group, a respected visitor but not a true member of the family. Kalfu takes him to the base of the pillar. "The center pole holds everything up, and is the foundation Bondye built for the world. On the other side is the door to him, but don't bother knocking." Jim walks around and sees only the center pole, but when he pushes his eyesight around the curve of the pillar he sees a plain wooden door with rusty nails in its hinges and an iron knob. It's planks are worn from age and the elements, but not enough to see through to what lies beyond.

Erzulie Dantor walks up carrying a leather case. She opens it and pulls out a tattoo needle, but no ink. As she runs the sharp edge gently along Jim's face and neck she purrs, "deh first time needs be familiar. Deh body in deh world be like deh ink in deh skin." She presses the needle into your arm reservoir end first and your ichor starts to be drawn into it. As it goes, you feel your consciousness going with it along with the center of your perception. You see your body fall to the ground, pale and drained. Erzulie then holds the needle up and reverses the flow. As she does you feel yourself pushed back out of the needle as she draws a body for you in the sky. Moments later you are you again, but your old husk is still lying on the floor. Though strange, the process was neither painful nor scary, and you feel sure you could do it again if necessary, probably without the needle.

Papa Legba steps up, his voice carrying the same weight of the ages that Kalfu's has, but also steeped in the dialect which Carrefour has rejected. "You be true now. Be real. De world she is rock, but we stomp 'er still."